"Based on this discovery, we need to rewrite the astronomy textbooks", he said.
While it's always been assumed that the rings of gas around active black holes took on the shape of a donut, researchers say the reality is far more complex.
Experts believe that black holes are actually a part of spacetime with huge gravitational pull and nothing even light can escape from its powerful force. The conclusions of this new research challenge the scientifically-accepted belief that a black hole is shaped like a donut.
Gas rings surrounding supermassive black holes are dynamic fountains of gaseous matter and not just donut shapes, found out a study that may prompt re-writing of astronomy textbooks.
Black holes are widely considered the most mysterious entities in the universe, and until now, experts have not succeeded to unravel the mysteries behind this perplexing space structure.
It has until now been assumed that gas surrounding black holes was donut-shaped. The team their observations with the computer simulation of gas falling towards a black hole made with the Cray XC30 ATERUI supercomputer operated by NAOJ.
According to the team, it's more of a three-step process.
Black holes could be fountains, not donuts
Instead, the gas expelled from the black holes combines with additional gas that is falling inwards creating a circulating pattern not dissimilar to the water in a public drinking fountain.
"Previous theoretical models set a priori assumptions of rigid donuts", study researcher Keiichi Wada, from the Kagoshima University in Japan, who lead the simulation study said.
As it falls it heats until the molecules break up into their constituent atoms and ions which are then expelled above and below the disc.
'Rather than starting from assumptions, our simulation started from the physical equations and showed for the first time that the gas circulation naturally forms a donut.
"Our simulation also explains various observational features of the system", Wada added.
These findings have upended what we thought knew.
"Through comparisons with our model predictions based on the radiation-driven fountain scheme, we indicate that atomic outflows are the driver of the geometrical thickness of the atomic disk", Izumi and colleagues wrote in their study, which was published in The Astrophysical Journal on October 30.